Ever since some of the products of cannabis have become legally available, consumers are growing more aware of the medical benefits of such cannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two of the most widely known cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant. The recreational use of CBD and THC are safe and legal in most countries, provided you have a medical prescription for the same. However, can CBD and THC be consumed together? Does CBD work better when paired with THC? What are the benefits and potential side-effects of using them both together? This article outlines the answers to all such questions in detail below.
Phytocannabinoids: CBD and THC
Phytocannabinoids are found in cannabis plants in more than 120 different varieties. CBD and THC are the widely known and well-researched variants. CBD, discovered around the 1940s, is used as a natural treatment for various health conditions. THC, on the other hand, is also derived from cannabis and the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis-related products. In simpler terms, THC makes you high while CBD doesn’t. However, both CBD and THC have the same molecular structure and hence are similar to our body’s natural endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are the neurotransmitters that relay signals in the brain, facilitating important functions such as sleep, pain, mood, hunger, etc. Both CBD and THC are available in a wide range of forms and can be consumed in these several different forms as well. They are consumed in isolation and sometimes together depending on the effects you are trying to achieve. For example, people consume CBD for stress reduction and better sleep and THC to cure symptoms such as tremors and poor appetite. However, when consumed simultaneously, the outcome is said to be even more profound.
The Entourage Effect
Research widely suggests that the recreational benefits of CBD and THC tend to be even more beneficial when consumed simultaneously. When these cannabinoids work in conjunction with one another, it creates an effect called ‘The Entourage Effect’. This effect can be explained by the fact that all chemical substances in cannabis work together and when consumed simultaneously, they provide an enhanced effect in comparison to taking them in isolation. For instance, taking CBD and THC alongside other natural compounds in the cannabis plant called terpenes or terpenoids produce a stronger effect than yields better results. When you take CBD with a small amount of THC, the effects of CBD will be enhanced giving your system a better positive outcome. The entourage effect of cannabis pertains to the scientific fact that it is hard to isolate organic compounds in a living system.
Living systems operate on interdependency and the synergistic quality of the cannabis plant takes this very fact into account by providing varied and impressive results when two or more organic compounds are mixed. In theory, the synergistic interplay between CBD and THC cannabinoids provides significant results on a wide range of health conditions including cancer. Nevertheless, it is critical to find the right CBD: THC ratio to reap maximum benefit from the conjunction. Typically, consumers experience noticeable results even with a small amount of THC. Although, finding the right ratio depends on a person’s unique needs and preferences.
Benefits of CBD and THC
Well, it takes two to tango! Having already established that taking both CBD and THC together improves the outcomes considerably, it is imperative to consider the advantages of each in isolation as well. If you are only interested in trying only CBD, then you need to find a CBD isolate product as opposed to a full-spectrum product that may have traces of THC. Many people use CBD in isolation to treat the following health conditions:
THC on the other hand aids with:
- Muscle spasticity
- Sleep disorders
- Poor appetite
CBD and THC have almost the same medical benefits and are used to treat similar health conditions. But which one is better and the most useful? You cannot compare one against the other as they are great apart and even better together. Therefore, one of the most vital benefits of combining these two is that the combination offers results that neither could provide alone. Once ingested, both cannabinoids work in harmony and interact with cannabinoid receptors that cause specific physiological effects, to mitigate various conditions affecting our body. Another advantage of taking them together is that CBD reduces some of the many undesired effects that THC may have. Furthermore, while these compounds influence the different areas of our brain, scientists or researchers still don’t completely comprehend the full effects these cannabinoids have, either in isolation or in concurrence with one another.
Key Differences between CBD and THC
We have already discussed the key similarities between these two compounds as well as the benefits both have to offer. However, to understand why they work in conjunction with one another, one has to understand the key differences between them as well. While CBD and THC offer similar benefits, they vastly differ in terms of chemical structure, formulation, source, and psychoactive properties. To explain further, CBD and THC share the same molecular structure but differ in how these molecules are arranged, which explains the different effects they have on the body. They differ in terms of sources as well. While CBD is derived from either hemp or marijuana, THC on the other hand is obtained solely from marijuana. Therefore, if you need to avoid THC and focus only on CBD, you should probably use CBD that is acquired from hemp. This is because CBD that comes from marijuana contains a larger quantity of THC. Last but not the least, CBD and THC differ in psychoactive properties. As mentioned earlier in the article, CBD won’t cause you to get high, unlike THC. This is why people associate getting high with marijuana as THC is derived from this cannabis plant.
It is interesting to note that there are very few side effects associated with both cannabinoids. In fact, according to World Health Organizations (WHO), CBD has little to no side effects. But Some research does show evident side-effects such as fluctuations in body weight, fatigue, dizziness, and diarrhea. On the other hand, THC consumers may experience temporary side-effects such as red eyes, dry mouth, slow reaction times, motor and coordination issues, elevated heart rate, and a typical feeling of being high, to name a few. These after-effects are part of THC’s psychoactive properties. Luckily, neither cannabinoids, when taken in isolation nor together, have shown drastic or fatal adverse effects, especially when consumed within the inappropriate dose. Although, you do risk addiction to it when you abuse the usage. This becomes especially true in the case of THC as it is obtained from marijuana and marijuana itself has many adverse effects including cognitive impairment, dysfunctional coordination, and altered judgment along with loss of short-term memory.
Tips for Taking Them Together
- Mindful dosages- Begin with a low dose and increase only gradually if needed. An ideal dose for THC can be 5mg or less and for CBD, it can range between 5 to 15 mg.
- Adjust consumption timing- We already know that taking THC and CBD at the same time yields the best results. However, your consumption timing depends on your preferences because many people prefer using THC before CBD. So, experiment with timing to find out what suits your needs better.
- Using different consumption methods- There are many ways these cannabinoids can be taken. Some of the ways include capsules, gummies, vapes, topicals, food forms, and tinctures. Try different delivery methods following your doctor’s medical prescription. However, please note that there are risks associated with vaping.
Both CBD and THC have medical benefits in isolation and conjunction and are considered safe to use. However, like with many drugs, the potential side-effects, however least, are impossible to ignore especially if you are taking other drugs simultaneously. Therefore, always practice caution and discuss with your doctor or a qualified clinician before using them together. As with any substance use, you must ease into cannabis-related products. Be mindful of your unique needs and sensitivities and adjust dosages accordingly because the combined effects of CBD and THC rely highly on the dose. Remember to consider the legality of cannabis consumption as well. Both CBD and THC are renowned for their medical properties, however, research concerning both are relatively new, so tread lightly.